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No room at the inn

February 28, 2011
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It’s frightening how quickly the markets for novelette length science fiction exhaust themselves, particularly the pro-paying markets.  Starting in May: Analog, Asimov’s, IGMS, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, F&SF, and Strange Horizons have all declined the honor of publishing a particular story of mine.  Sure, that’s their right.  Two of them were kind enough to decline personally.  But now the list of potential markets has dwindled to a mere handful, most of which have other submissions of mine in their queues.  Even if I manage to trim it down to 7500 words, not many more options open up.  It;s a small world out there.  It’s enough to discourage a guy.

I keep reminding myself: I need to focus on novels.  N-O-V-E-L-S-!  Money, success, fame — novels are the path.  Yet I keep scratching out short stuff that I can’t sell.  Oh, how the Kindle beckons me!

I could stretch this novelette into a novel if I gave it some time.  Take the linear timelin, chop it in the middle, and braid separate events to happen simultaneously, drawing them out to engulf the reader in the setting and characters.  The more I type, the more I think it could work.  But (ain’t there always a but) that’s a lot of planning and a lot of writing away.  I need to finish my current novel-in-progress before I dare attack a another.  This project will sell in some capacity, I know it will.  Novelette?  Trimmed to a short?  Inflated to novel?  Screenplay?  Yep, I said the s-word.  I know this idea works, these characters work, just…[insert primal scream here].

It’s a matter of frustration at this point.  I need to just get this story back out into the world.  It’s good.  It pulled positive comments from major editors.  There’s just so few places left to turn, mostly places I’ve never tried before.  Not sure which is scarier: the unknown entities or realizing how few are there.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 4:56 am

    So… why not publish it yourself on Kindle and Nook and Smashwords? I did that with a novelette that made the rounds, got some nice rejections, and then didn’t have anywhere left to go. It’s already up and making me money (a trickle at this point, but more than zero…).

    No story has to die in a trunk anymore 🙂

  2. March 13, 2011 10:43 pm

    I’m with Annie on this one (that’s izanobu) the new e-market makes it easier than ever to take short works beyond ordinary “short” lengths, and make money on them. It’s a re-birth of the novelette and novella, which makes me oh-so-happy because these lengths are where I believe I am most comfortable. But yes, to your original point, it’s a real drag that we don’t have more pro-pay venues who take them. And even the ones that do, you have to really knock it out of the park to get a sale, or you have to have a Big Name attached to the story. Or both.

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